Years 1-2 Attention and Listening

What is it?

Good listening skills are important for being able to join in with activities and interacting with others.

The development of listening and attention skills is essential to promote a child’s understanding and use of language.

What to expect?

In Year 1 & 2 children will usually…….

  • Be able to complete adult led activities for longer.
  • Be able to “listen and do i.e. the child can listen to verbal instructions and information while carrying out an activity.
  • Be able to maintain their own attention and refocus if distracted.
  • Be able to be taught in a group.

Information & advice

You can help by:

  • Being in front of and looking at the child you are speaking to.
  • Using the child’s name to get their attention and wait for them to look at you before giving an instruction.
  • Ensuring you have the child’s attention e.g. not playing with something before giving an instruction.
  • Ensuring the child is not mid-task when you give a new instruction.
  • Minimising distracting background noise both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Minimising visual distractions, especially behind the teacher.
  • Discussing “good listening” with the whole class, initially on a regular basis. Some children need to learn how to listen i.e.:
    • Good sitting.
    • Looking at the person who is speaking.
    • Good waiting and turn taking.
    • Thinking about the words and what they mean.
    • Keeping your body still.
  • Giving specific feedback to the child about his/her listening skills e.g. “I can see you sat still and listening hard”. “well done for asking me to repeat, when you missed a bit of information”.
  • Thinking about the sitting position of the child. E.g. at the front next to the teacher may be less distracting.
  • Considering the impact of groupings on the child’s ability to concentrate. Some peers will provide a better model of language and behaviour than others.
  • Keeping the child’s desk clear from unneeded items.
  • Using a ‘now’ and ‘next’ board to redirect a child’s attention back to the current activity and show what is happening next (see resources for an example).
  • Using a sand timer to indicate how long the child needs to concentrate for or how long is left of an activity.
  • Using a ‘working towards board’ to show what the child needs to complete before they can complete their reward activity (see resources for an example).